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Academy Tent closes doors

The event rental industry was abuzz this week with the news that Academy Event Services, which included industry fixtures Academy Tent & Canvas and Event Technical Services, both based in Los Angeles, closed its doors Feb. 13. Academy Tent has serviced high-profile events from Hollywood galas to the Olympics for more than 20 years.

Backers including Maryland-based American Capital and Chicago-based Cambridge Capital Partners invested some $27 million in Academy in late 2002. Industry observers tell Special Events that a business slowdown after the 2002 Olympics combined with the loss of outstanding sales staff, including the death of veteran senior salesman Ken Finegold, who passed away age 52 in November 2002, made the debt load unmanageable.

Repeated calls to American Capital, Cambridge Capital Partners, and a representative of Citigroup, which owns the senior debt, have not been returned.

Both the State of California and the County of Los Angeles filed tax liens against Academy last fall.

Sources tell Special Events that efforts are under way to salvage segments of the operation, including manufacturing.

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